Dr. Margarita Vigodner, associate professor of biology at Stern College for Women, co-authored a paper, “UXT is required for spermatogenesis in mice,” with the team of Dr. Susan Logan at New York University School of Medicine, that has been accepted to PLOS ONE.

Vigodner explains that Logan and her team were studying a protein known as UXT in the regulation of androgen hormones in the prostate when they noticed that this protein was highly abundant in mouse testes. “Given the expertise of our laboratory in testicular biology and the proximity of NYU and Stern College,” Vigodner noted, “Dr. Logan reached out to me for a possible collaboration.”

The collaborative project focuses on understanding the role of UXT in testicular functions and male reproduction. Inactivation of this protein in mouse male germ cells (cells that become sperm) caused rapid cell death and complete male infertility. “Strikingly, what we observed in the mouse resembled a human condition known as ‘Sertoly cell only syndrome,’ when no germ cells are present in the testes of infertile patients.” The ultimate goal of this research is to identify more clearly the critical pathways essential for normal production of sperm in order to better understand and hopefully treat male infertility.

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